When COP Really is Greater Than 1

This guest post was submitted by ECW reader Ancientukscientist

In our quest for “free energy” and “over-unity” machines, it’s easy to get confused – especially in a sea of obfuscation and deceitful stuff which fills the Internet.

So – I thought this little “reality reminder” might be useful for everyone…

Probably, most scientifically-based people are familiar with the “Heat Pump” – a wonderful and useful device which is the basis for most domestic refrigerators. Larger versions are used to heat/cool domestic homes.

The compressor heat pump really seems to provide “free energy” – depending on exactly how you prefer to look at it – and how precise and pedantic you tend to be….

Most compressor heat pumps – when being used correctly – tend to have a coefficient-of-performance (COP) of around 3.

Yep! Really is true! You actually do get 3 times the amount of heating / cooling power from the heat pump than the amount of power required to turn the pump compressor!

So – how does this REALLY happen?

No Laws of physics are violated in this process – let’s consider what really happens when not viewed through rose-coloured glasses…

A domestic fridge has a well insulated compartment containing a reasonable area of “radiator” inside it, usually the “radiator” tubes and fins are an integral part of the “freezer compartment”.

On the back of the fridge, there is a further radiator, much larger than the internal one.

These two radiators perform the transfer of unwanted heat from the inside of the fridge to the outside.

Heat is pumped from the inner radiator, thus making it very cold – and producing ice if required – and causing the interior temperature of the fridge to reduce.

The heat is pumped to the rear radiator – raising it’s temperature in the process to make it warm to the touch – thus it is able to dump the heat pumped from inside the fridge by warming your kitchen slightly!

The heat pump is doing exactly what the name says. It pumps heat from one place to some other – in this case from the cold radiator (inside) to the hot radiator (at the rear).

In the process, the 100 Watt motor manages to pump heat, at an approximately 300 watt rate, OUT of the fridge – and dump it to the rear radiator.

Because the machine is not perfect, it has losses – which explains why the rear radiator gets slightly hotter than calculations would predict – or – alternatively – the inner radiator does not get quite so cold as you would predict….

Yes – it’s true! The COP of a heat pump really does turn out to be around 3 in normal (well designed) operation – so 100 Watts of electricity can produce around 300 Watts of heating or cooling.

So far, nobody has stood up in a rage and shouted “over unity is NOT POSSIBLE!”

The Machine is, for sure, pumping at roughly three times the rate, more heat energy in or out of some apparatus than the power of the motor would suggest.

But – it’s just physics – there’s no free energy at work here! We are simply using a friendly and useful machine to pump heat from A to B.

To the average Joe who’s using the machine, it really does seem to perform the miracle for him – it gives a 300 Watt rate of what he needed – for only 100 Watts of electricity — magic!

Of course, if we look at absolutely everything involved – rather than just the electrical input, we find that all the figures on one side of the equation are an exact match for those on the other. However, let’s not lose sight of the fact that we are achieving something somewhat miraculous nevertheless.

Now let’s allow our minds to wander a little bit – and ponder whether it might be possible to use the same general idea to achieve the “impossible” – to have more electrical energy be output from a Machine than is put into it….

What I’m suggesting is that it really might be possible – providing we can think “sideways” enough to see how to achieve an “electron pump” rather than a “heat pump”.

We all take the refrigerator for granted – and many homes, in the USA in particular, use reversible heat pumps to provide domestic heating or cooling.

I didn’t go into a long explanation of exactly how a Heat Pump works – there are myriad explanations available elsewhere. It’s the general idea I’m trying to explain – that it really is possible to achieve what might seem, on the face of it, the impossible. Heat pumps do it every day!

Hopefully, someone will read this and it will trigger the chain-of-thought necessary to achieve what we all need – the wonderful shoe-box which will give 3 Kilowatts of electricity out for only 1 kilowatt in — and no laws of physics will be broken…